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January 03, 1986 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-01-03

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Friday, January 3, 1986 19.



Special to The. Jewish News


For too long Israel's buses
have been unreasonably
maligned. Mention of the
buses has conjured up only
images of pushing and shov-
ing, and pungent odors .on a
hot summer day. Having
recently returned from half a
year in Israel, where I made
constant use of the mar-
velous public transit system,
I am now prepared to speak
out in defense of the Egged
buses; I loved them.
To Americans I offer this
bit, of wisdom: Visit Israel
without riding the regularly
scheduled buses and you will
never understand the coun-
try. Tour buses and cabs are
fine in their place. But only
on the regular buses can you
observe the mores of every-

day behavior and delight hi
the cultural diversity of the
Where else will you see a
Hasid in black coat and hat,
earlocks swinging, reading a
text intently; an Orthodox
woman in modest garments,
with a large family in tow;
and an Arab in traditional
headgear, all in close proxi-
mity, interacting with reason-
able manners towards each
Where else will so many
tongues reach your ear at
once—Hebrew, of course,
English in a wide variety of
pronunciations, Yiddish,
French, Russian and Arabic?
Where else would one have
the opportunity to gaze
casually upon so many types

of Jewish faces—Slavic faces,
round with high cheekbones;
Ethiopian faces, black and
narrow and wide-eyed; fair
faces; dark faces; freckled
faces—yet Jewish faces all?
To become aware of all of
this is to begin—just begin—
to understand the nature of
this land. And to understand
its nature is to grasp both its
miracle and the extent of its
Climb up onto a bus. Do
not be surprised if the bus
begins moving before your
fare has been' taken, &if the
driver has a potted plant on
the dashboard. Understand
that there will be a radio play-
ing, and that, more likely
than not, there will be bun-
dles in the aisle which you

must step over. Notice the
"No Smoking" signs, which
are the fruit of a long lobby-
ing effort by American immi-
grants, but do not expect an
American-style experience.
Sit down, if you are lucky
enough to have a seat, and
observe. If you are standing,
observe anyway.
The people on the bus with
you—reputed, not without
reason, to be pushers and
shovers—have an innate
understanding of how one
acts on a bus. It is an
understanding so humane
that it can reduce a com-
muter from the New York
City subway system to tears
•of envy;
The bus is crowded. A pas-
senger enters via the rear

door and cannot make his
way up to the front. He does
not try to hide in order to
avoid paying the fare. •He
passes money up. From hand
to hand it goes, until it
reaches the driver, who then
passes back the change.
Again, from hand to hand it
moves, until it returns to the
original passenger. If instead
of cash he has a commuter
ticket, which must be punch-
ed by the driver, this moves
up and back in the same way.
, A mother enters with a
baby carriage. (Yes, baby car-
riages are permitted, and
dogs, tool) The carriage must
come in by way of the back ,
door, and •young men leap
from their' seats in order to
carry it up the steps into the

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